By Alex Mutter
The government of Guyana could soon be facing legal action from international publishers over the purchase of pirated textbooks for use in public schools.
Although Guyana’s Education Ministry has reportedly been buying pirated books from companies that duplicate the copyrighted originals for quite some time, an international movement to end the illegal business is only now underway.
The movement is led by the UK Publishers Association, which counts Random House Children’s Books and Macmillan Education, along with many others, among its ranks.
In a statement posted on the Publishers Association’s website, Emma House, International and Trade Director, said:
The Cabinet’s decision in Guyana to procure pirated textbooks for public school is an indisputably illegal act…In light of the official confirmation by the Ministry of Education that the procurement of pirated books is approved policy, publishers will now be assessing their legal options to ensure that an end is put to this unlawful [behavior].
Roger Luncheon, Guyana’s Cabinet Secretary, has publicly defended the purchasing of pirated textbooks, saying that it is justified due to financial concerns.
The Publishers Association has countered that the “Guyanese government has not contacted publishers to discuss supply of legitimate books. This makes the government’s claim that this illegal action is justified…totally redundant and disingenuous, if not hypocritical.”
It remains to be seen what recourse the Publishers Association will take, and what sort of defense the government of Guyana may mount.